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Edward James Olmos: 1947—: Actor

Stand And Deliver

The stand-out performance of Olmos's career thus far came in the 1988 release of Stand and Deliver. The film told the true story of Bolivian-born Jaime Escal-ante, a successful computer scientist who left his career to teach math to underprivileged Hispanic kids from the barrios of East Los Angeles. The inspirational story focused on Escalante's relationship with his students at Garfield High School as he challenged them to achieve more than expected and more than they believed they could. Then, in 1982 after scoring higher than expected on the Advanced Placement Calculus exam, they are launched into controversy when the Educational Testing Service suspected foul play and opened an investigation.

Olmos portrayed Escalante with intensity and exceptional accuracy. To prepare for the part, Olmos studied Escalante for hours, observing him both in and out of the classroom. He also gained 40 pounds and spent hours studying tapes of Escalante to perfect his speech and mannerisms. Olmos even considered moving in with Escalante for a time, but Escalante's wife vetoed that idea. The movie grossed more than nine times its modest production costs, and Olmos received an Academy Award nomination for his brilliant performance as Escalante. Hoping to bring the film to the largest possible audience, Olmos convinced several major corporations to sponsor his efforts to place a copy of the film in every school, library, and youth organization across the nation.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - CareerEdward James Olmos: 1947—: Actor Biography - Grew Up In The Barrio, Zoot Suit, Stand And Deliver, From American Me To American Family